If Peters is hoping Jones might ensure the party’s survival by one day taking over as leader, he’s got a problem.
It’s a big call to assume New Zealand First supporters will take a liking to Jones.
What the party’s supporters like about Peters is his old-world charm. He has the ability to make outright populism more palatable through decorum. Jones has the populism part down pat. He has no decorum at all.
He’s a shabby dresser, is in my view prone to bouts of arrogance and there’s the porn thing.
Party members are already running an active #neverjones Facebook page, dedicated to opposing his candidacy.
What’s more, Jones has proven hard to manage.
He defied orders in Labour. Peters demands discipline. He’ll expect to keep telling his lieutenants what to do. Will Jones obey?
Still, by the time Jones – inevitably – takes over as leader of New Zealand First, Peters will be happily fishing off the Northland coast somewhere. At that time, Jones will be Jones’ problem.
As I have said before the NZ First caucus will be a fascinating spectacle with Jones in it.